8 Korean BBQ
6 Eu Tong Sen Street #02-79/90
T: +65 8692 1188
8 Korean BBQ at The Central Clarke Quay, is the first of the 2 outlets in Singapore, while there are 2 other outlets in USA. The “8” in the name, is found in their signature 8 colors set, comprising of 8 distinct flavored marinates on their choice cut Mangalitza Pork Belly.
The interior is nicely spacious, cozy enough for your communion of 4-6 pax per table. And if you’re a bigger bunch, you will need 2 tables. The seats are empty barrels, intended for diners to put away their belongings, allowing for a more spacious & enjoyable dining experience.
The tables are equipped with 2 integrated gas stoves. The center piece is the huge rectangular tilted cast iron tray, and the secondary, a medium sized stove intended for the stews. Stainless steel utensils, as well as paper napkins are found in the drawer underneath the table, so that whatever remaining space on the table top can be put to good use.
Once seated, the Banchan is served, and I might add that they’re pretty different from most other Korean joints I’ve visited in recent past. The Kimchi looks very similar to our Nyonya Achar but without ground nuts, there’s a thin sliced pickled radish, thin sliced pickled lotus root pod, and there’s roasted tofu cubes.
For beverage, we tried the best seller – Yucha Makgeolli. It’s a fermented rice/barley brew, blended with citrus of the pomelo, with tiny chunky bits of the peel. It’s somewhat frothy, acidic, but refreshing. Albeit, I’d very much prefer the Honey Makgeolli.
We’re only a small bunch of 5pax, so we picked 4 colors out of 8. The 8 flavors as follows, ranked from lightest to heaviest tasting:
Wine: Wine (in moderation), lowers the risk of heart disease, and opens blood vessels for better circulation.
Original: All natural with no additives. Unveiling pork’s natural flavonoids, rich in Vitamin B1.
Ginseng: Ginseng stimulates the metabolism and promotes general wellness of health.
Garlic: Garlic lowers cholesterol and high blood pressure, and helps the body’s natural flow.
Herb: Natural herbs alleviate stress and depression.
Curry: Curry’s complex components prevent Alzheimer’s disease, as well as certain cancers.
Miso Paste: Miso Paste is rich in flavonoids and beneficial in circulating the body’s natural biochemistry.
Red Pepper Paste: Gochujang contains protein, healthy fats, Vitamins B2, Vitamin C and carotene.
Simultaneous, the Cheesy Pork Ribs is served on the round stove, over slow fire, and suddenly, we’re busy marveling at the cheese melt & bubbly in the skillet. The Pork Ribs are marinated overnight & cooked before serving, kept hot over the stove, while waiting for the cheese to melt.
On the iron cast tray, they set the kimchi & sprouts on the lower quadrant, line the 4 flavored pork belly to slowly cook. The fat breaks down, and mingles with the kimchi & sprouts downstream. To prevent oil splatter, the service staff uses a sheet of wax paper to blanket the pork belly, allowing it to simmer & cook.
When the pork belly is done, the service staff cuts them into bite sized portions. To consume, you can have the meat neat, wrapped with cooked kimchi and or sprouts in juicy leaf lettuce, or simply pork in leaf lettuce. I personally prefer the latter.
The Army Stew should be no stranger to most people, but this rendition is somewhat different from the ones we’re more familiar with. It comes in a kimchi soup base, loaded with spam, bacon, sausages, fishcakes, onions, and topped with ramyun. The stew is brought to a boil, and the ramyun softens away as it should. I’ve always enjoyed my ramyun a little al dente, and so, shortly after it softens up after frolicking in the soup, I had first dibs to my portion.
For the finale… “Bibimbap” Bingu. Fine shaven frozen milk, compacted into a chilled stone bowl, the same type of stone bowl used for typical Bibimbap (as seen earlier). Topped with chopped kiwi fruit, crushed oreos, chopped grapes, timy marshmallows, chopped mango, azuki red beans, chopped strawberries, banana crunch, and whipped cream piped around half a peach in the center.
All in all, I’ve to say that this experience is one of a kind; in terms of concept & freedom of choice. Price point wise, it’s not far from the typical spending at most other Korean concept diners. Central at CQ is not a very crowded mall, so I reckon its unlikely that there wouldn’t be seats available for lunch/ dinner. Nonetheless, a call is all it takes to make table reservations.